Cancer support in primary care

At Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) we are committed to supporting the integration of Optimal Care Pathways for Cancer into primary care and improving our cancer screening rates throughout the catchment, by working with primary health care professionals.

Cancer screening programs

Cancer screening is a preventative measure and detects early signs of cancer before symptoms are present. There are three national screening programs:

  1. National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
  2. BreastScreen Australia
  3. National Cervical Screening Program

General practices play an important role in patient education and awareness of cancer screening. Clinician endorsement has the greatest influence on people participating in screening. EMPHN is committed to supporting general practices to improve cancer screening rates and establish effective practice systems by providing assistance with:

  • iImproving recall and reminder systems
  • strategies to increase participation
  • utilising medical software
  • data cleansing and analysis
  • staff education
  • sourcing patient information resources

Cancer screening resources

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Videos for the Chinese Community

EMPHN and Cancer Council Victoria have collaborated to produce videos to promote the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to members of the Chinese community. The videos are spoken in Mandarin with Traditional Chinese subtitles that can be read by both Mandarin and Cantonese speakers.

There are two version, a short version, for awareness raising, and a long version with instructions on how to use a bowel screening kit. The videos are also available on the CCV site here.

RACGP Redbook
Provides the clinical guidelines for preventative health. Section 9 outlines guidelines for early detection of cervical, breast and bowel cancer.

Optimal Care Pathways for Cancer

Optimal Care Pathways for Cancer (OCPs) detail key principles and recommendations for optimal care at critical points in the cancer continuum, from prevention and identification through to survivorship or end-of-life care, regardless of where people live or have cancer treatment.

OCPs are currently available for 15 cancer types. For each cancer pathway, there are three versions:

  • detailed clinical pathway for cancer specialists, health professionals and health service administrators
  • quick reference guide for GPs – to familiarise GPs and primary care providers with the care pathway
  • patient 'What-to-Expect' guides – to assist patients and people affected by cancer to understand what to expect at each stage

Eastern Melbourne PHN is working with North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (NEMICS) and South Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (SMICS) to ensure the OCPs are standard practice across all services to improve the patient cancer care experiences. OCPs are integrated into cancer service design and delivery and are also integrated into the cancer pages on HealthPathways Melbourne.

In 2017, as part of the statewide project to implement the Lung and Colorectal OCPs into primary health, EMPHN in collaboration with NEMICS produced Lung Cancer- Diagnosis to survivorship: what's new for GPs? webinar and accompanying MDM video. The MDM video gives an example of the case review and collaboration that a person with lung cancer referred to a specialist service would receive. 

In 2018 the OCP project has focused on Prostate and Oesophagogastric cancer. 

EMPHN has produced a series of videos titled What’s new in prostate cancer treatment?  They feature Prof. Shomik Sengupta and Prof. Jeremy Millar. Topics include:

1. Current issues and diagnosis

2. Active surveillance

3. What's new- surgery

4. What's new- radiation therapy

5. Deciding which treatment

6. Side effects and supportive care

7.  Hormone Therapy

The Victorian PHN Alliance has made Talking about PSA testing video to support GPs discussing PSA testing with men in different clinical scenarios. For further information on the OCPs and the work being done, please visit the Victorian PHN Alliance website.  

Cancer support services

Cancer Council Victoria offer a range of free information and support services to help GPs and practice nurses manage the impact of cancer for patients or their families on 13 11 20. This call will link you to an experienced and understanding Cancer Council nurse.

OCP resources